The CadMad custom 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham is the coolest car crossing the block at the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction. All arguments to the contrary are wrong and can be redirected straight to the gallery above.
This 16-year project built by Super Rides and commissioned by the late Steve Barton won the Don Ridler Memorial Award at the 2019 Detroit Autorama, which goes to the custom build that shows the best creativity, engineering and quality workmanship. All of those qualities are on full display in this Eldorado Brougham-Nomad mashup.
Just so we’re all on the same page, a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was no normal Cadillac at the time. The sedan’s exterior design is thanks to Pininfarina, as Cadillac had the Italian design company tweak its styling. It resulted in a much more subdued Cadillac than the rest of Caddy's giant fin-tastic designs of the decade. Only 200 were made over the course of a couple years, and they remain some of the rarest production Cadillacs to this day.
The “Fawntana Rose” Cadillac standing before us is a shooting brake interpretation of that famous sedan. It has lost 18 inches in overall length, four inches in width and the rear doors have been completely eliminated. A Chevy Nomad roof was shortened by a couple inches and grafted onto the bodywork. The builders say that every last piece of sheet metal was modified for this build. Still, there’s still no mistaking it for a Cadillac. The chrome bumpers and lights were left mostly untouched, and the small fins were retained, as well. That Nomad roof was painted in Titanium Silver for contrast, the same silver that’s used on the new Ford GT.
Things only improve when you open the hood. A 632-cubic-inch twin-turbo V8 built by Nelson Racing Engines (NRE) powers the shooting brake. Most of the time (on 91 octane fuel), it produces around 1,000 horsepower and 950 pound-feet of torque. Feed it 112 octane fuel and NRE claims it’s capable of producing upwards of 2,500 horsepower. Yowza. A four-speed automatic transmission and strengthened Corvette transaxle somehow attempts to put the power down to the rear wheels.
The seats are reflective of the amount of power this car puts down — 2012 Cadillac CTS-V buckets were used and modified with mauve-colored upholstery. All the trim was hand-painted, including the wood-grain flooring in back and is meant to “mimic the African Wenge and Tigerwood Maple.”
The time and effort that went into this built is truly astounding. Over 4,000 hours were spent on the body alone, and the final product shows it. There’s no estimate for a sale price on the shooting brake given by Barrett-Jackson on the listing now, but it’s being offered with no reserve. No matter the price, we’re likely going to label this car well bought. And well built, too.